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How to Raise Your MBE Score: What to Do and What NOT to Do

If you feel like you are stuck in a rut and don’t see your MBE score budge, this is for you. You may answer a hundred questions a day and get the same score no matter how much effort you put in. You may read every answer explanation. You may be doing a lot of work but not seeing a lot of results! This is very common. We specialize in helping students get out of MBE ruts and raise their MBE scores. Here, we will tell you three things to stop doing — after all, time is your most precious asset! Then, we will tell you three things to start doing instead. Hopefully, you will raise your MBE score so you exceed your goals! We see this happen with a lot of our students.

How to Raise Your MBE Score:

What NOT to Do

1. Do not answer hundreds of questions a day.

Quantity alone will NOT increase your score and will leave you feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, and frustrated! It is definitely not bad to answer questions. After all, you want to get exposed to the format of the MBE and the manner in which substance is tested. But, if you are answering a crazy amount, like 100 questions a day, you need to change your approach. Why?

  • You probably are not spending enough time on other things (like learning the law, and other things we mention below).
  • You are probably rushing through reading answer explanations and not fully digesting the question or the answer.
  • If you are reading this, you are not seeing your score improve anyway, so stop doing the same thing that isn’t working!
  • It leads to frustration and burn-out.

So, don’t only focus on quantity. Instead, you want to focus on quality too (as we discuss below!).

2. Do not tell yourself you already have all of the law memorized. 

This is the top lie students tell themselves. We are not saying anyone is intentionally misleading themselves (why would you do that?). However, many students think the following two sentences are the same:

“I have a general understanding of the law”

“I have the nuances of the law memorized.”

These are not the same thing. Perhaps you do have a general understanding of the law. You have probably certainly spent enough time with some of the topics. But there is a big difference between generally understanding the law and memorizing the nuances of the law.

If you have the nuances of the law memorized you will be able to answer the following questions right now:

  • What are the four elements of a dying declaration?
  • What are the four ways to sever a joint tenancy?
  • What is the difference between Article IV and 14th Amendment privileges and immunities?
  • What are the four elements necessary to prove defamation of a private figure? (And what is different about a private figure v. a public figure)
  • What are the elements of claim preclusion?

If — like most — you struggled, could not answer some, or could only partially answer some, then you have to work on memorization! (If you got them all right, good job! Perhaps this is not an issue of yours and perhaps you may have to work more on comprehension or application. This is much less common, however.)

Again, this says nothing about how hard you have worked. It is great to know this now rather than later. You likely have a great foundation and cementing the nuances to memory will be the best way to improve your MBE score. That is discussed shortly, below! P.S. If you would like to try out even more questions, check out our (100% free) MBE memorization quiz here!

3. Do not only rely on “fake” MBE questions. 

Many courses and books invent their own multiple-choice questions. This is not bad. And indeed, there are only so many released MBE questions, so extra “fake” course-invented MBE questions can be a great source of practice. However, you do not want to only use course-invented multiple-choice questions. You will want to invest in some real ones for the reasons we discuss below.

How to Raise Your MBE Score:

What to Do

1. Memorize the law! 

The first thing you want to do is make sure you have the law memorized. We recommend you start with an outline and go through it section-by-section. (Most MBE outlines are between 40 and 70 pages — depending on the font style and type.) Memorize one section (for example, you might memorize hearsay exceptions where the declarant is unavailable in Evidence). Then, once you have that memorized, move on to the next section (for example, hearsay exceptions where the availability of the declarant is immaterial.). Keep reviewing and repeating this. You will instantly feel more confident. And after spending a half-day doing this, you should already start to see your score improve.

Incorporate memorization into your daily routine.

Some effective ways to memorize the law are as follows:

  • Cover up your outline and see how much you can re-write — i.e., can you list all of the hearsay exceptions where the declarant is unavailable as well as their elements? Keep trying, then check your answers until you have it all memorized.
  • Cover up your outline and see how much you can re-state out loud (this is a good technique for auditory learners).
  • Make your own chart, diagram, or cheat sheet of whatever you are trying to memorize.
  • Explain the law on a whiteboard as if you are teaching a student the law (the best way to learn something is to teach it!).

We have other ideas on how to memorize your bar exam outlines here!

2. Incorporate time into your day to dissect questions. (Also, complete questions in a timed setting.) 

We explain how to improve your MBE score in a step-by-step guide here. The key is to not rush through hundreds of multiple-choice questions a day. Rather, the key is to answer questions in a slow and methodical manner until you start to truly understand exactly how to approach questions.

An added bonus of using this slow and methodical method is that you can easily figure out exactly what you are doing wrong (and what you are doing right). For example, are you not reading the fact pattern closely enough? Are you struggling with certain topics? Are you misunderstanding key legal terms?

Multiple students and readers have told us that they have increased their score significantly using this technique alone!

Note that you can (and should) still take timed exams. But, you should use this method just as much if not more. Not only will you improve your score, you will also start to feel more confident in your technique and your ability to apply the law you have worked so hard to learn.

3. Use real questions. 

Lastly, make sure that you incorporate at least some “real” MBE questions into your practice. If you are using course-invented questions (that is, questions invented by a commercial course or company), that is generally not bad. But, the best way to make sure you are prepared for the actual MBE is to use actual MBE questions!

“Real” MBE questions are released by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE). Using real MBE questions will have the following benefits:

  • It will get you used to the format of the MBE
  • It will get you used to how certain topics are tested
  • It will raise your confidence walking into the MBE
  • You are less likely to be surprised on MBE day
  • You will get the most realistic gauge of how you will actually perform on MBE day.

If you are looking to incorporate real MBE questions into your practice, we tell you a few great sources for real MBE questions here.

We hope these tips help you raise your MBE score! Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!

  • Looking for MBE Help?

    We offer the following MBE products and services:

    • An MBE course, which comes with several MBE sessions, all 7 MBE outlines, our MBE diagnostic, MBE guide, and MBE one-sheets!
    • MBE private tutoring for those seeking one-on-one help to pass the MBE.
    • Real MBE questions! We offer the latest NCBE-released questions!
    • Our MBE favorites series, which dissects the “favorite” issues the MBE tests. You have instant access to them online!
    • An MBE Seminar for those looking for strategies to improve their MBE score.
    • An MBE guide, which has a guaranteed 7-point score increase.
    • An MBE diagnostic for those who are having trouble determining why their scores are not increasing.

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